Health of Aquatic Animals

Research Area (Heading): Biology and pathology of aquatic & wild/exotic animals

Academic field (SSD): VET/01 - Veterinary Anatomy

Contact person:

Prof. Bruno Cozzi, DVM, PhD
Dept. of Comparative Biomedicine and Food Science

Viale dell'Università 16
35020 Legnaro, Padova, Italy
Tel.: +39-049-8272626
Fax: +39-049-8272796

People involved in the Research Topic:

Dr. Antonella Peruffo, Dr. Sandro Mazzariol, Dr. Cinzia Centelleghe


Since 2002, The Ministry of the Environment funded the creation of a Mediterranean Marine Mammals Tissue Bank (MMMTB, 2002) and an emergency task force dedicated to unusual mortality events (CERT - 2010). These Units work within the National Stranding Networks and cooperate with Italian Istituti Zooprofilattici Sperimentali and international Institutions as ACCOBAMS or IWC. Main research topics are:

  • neuroanatomy and physiology of whales and dolphins
  • investigation on the relationship between stranded cetaceans and their pathogens with special emphasis on dolphin morbillivirus
  • diagnostic techniques aimed to reveal evidences of human related mortalities
  • taxonomic, epidemiological and pathogenic aspects of parasitic diseases in stranded cetaceans, including zoonotic species such as Toxoplasma gondii
  • anatomy, phisiology and diseases of sea turtles
  • diseases of aquatic organisms, fish and shellfish histology, application of health management protocols in fish farms, and prophylaxis, diagnosis and therapy of fish pathologies

MMMTB and CERT personnel are often consultant for the national and international Institutions as ACCOBAMS and IWC. Due to their researches and knowledge, they are often involved in writing guidelines, protocols and technical paper for cetaceans strandings management.


Tissues images analyses by using big data management and evaluation

Aim of the project is to create software and devices that allow a) the construction of 3D models based on CT scans of marine vertebrates (cetaceans, turtles, wild and farm fish) ; b) realization of tractography from high-definition MR of the cetacean brain; c) analyses of bidimensional data from microscopic slides of neural tissue useful to understand direction and nature of projections of the neurons (cerebral cortex of dolphins)

Five publications related to the Research Topic for the candidate interview

1. Lobo J, See EY, Biggs M, Pandit A. (2016) An insight into morphometric descriptors of cell shape that pertain to regenerative medicine. J Tissue Eng Regen Med.10:539-53.

2. Pincus Z, Theriot JA. (2007) Comparison of quantitative methods for cell-shape analysis, J Microsc, 227(Pt 2): 140-156

3. Innocenti GM, Dyrby TB, Girard G, St‑Onge E, Thiran JP, Daducci A, Descoteaux M (2019) Topological principles and developmental algorithms might refine diffusion tractography. Brain Structure and Function 224:1–8

4. Wang D, Luo Y, Mok VCT, Chu WCW, Shi L (2016) Tractography atlas-based spatial statistics: Statistical analysis of diffusion tensor image along fiber pathways. NeuroImage 125: 301–310

5. Corain L, Salmaso L. (2015) Improving Power of Multivariate Combination-based Permutation Tests. Statistics and Computing, 25 (2): 203–214.